So far I've focused perhaps too much on the funny and difficult bits of our time in Turkey without singing its praises. Central Turkey is spectacularly beautiful and it deserves at least one entry dedicated to that.
At the crossroads of the crusades, the Silk Road and the meeting of two continents, this dry desert fuels images of the Mojave in California and the red rock mountain ridges of Utah with dabbles of Arizona and New Mexico.
We spent time in three unique places, all with their own rich history and beauty.
Our first stop was Goreme in Cappadocia. This ancient civilization, while evolving with the modern world, has, in parts, continued to live in caves carved into the sides of its hillscape. This makes sense, considering how incredibly warm it was. We also partook, sleeping in a cave hotel that absolutely lived up to the hype.
Next it was a subterranean adventure in the underground city of Derinkuyu. As early as 3000 BC a community of more than 30,000 people had carved into the earth an underground world five stories tall as much as 210 feet deep to escape the climate and conflict above.
There were rooms for animals and sleeping, numerous churches and even a classroom for the children's schooling. It was fascinating!
Finally, we reached Pamukkale, where the temperatures soared to over 115 degrees Fahrenheit forest of the day. Thankfully, part of the experience was bathing in ancient clay baths filled by natural hot springs that cascade down the mountain in a truly otherworldly way. We definitely enjoyed ourselves.
At the top of the hillside, entirely protected by both vantage point and surrounding natural "walls" stood Heliopolis - Turkeys best preserved Roman ruins. This city was once the third largest in Rome'a empire and a global centre of art, culture and finance. To think that so much had happened in this now remote and isolated place was a reminder of how short our blip of life is in the history and story of both human civilization in particular and the planet in general.
So alas, despite the stresses of traveling here the places and experiences were absolutely worth it. Now back to Istanbul we go!
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